Monday, November 24, 2008

Food Food - Red and Blue – I Like to Eat - I do, I do

Well as much as I profess to needing to watch what I eat and exercise more – I keep slipping backwards. It just seems I have a sweet tooth that is hard to break and if bacon is within a couple hundred yards, I am on it. I just love to eat.

I could not believe a report I read recently that Australia is now the world’s fattest nation, with 26% of adults labeled obese, a new report said Friday. The report, titled ‘‘Australia’s Future Fat Bomb’’ was undertaken by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, and revealed that some 4 million Australian adults are now classified as obese. The alarming new figures mean the nation has officially overtaken the United States, which has a 25% obesity rate.

While the report said Australia had overtaken the United States as the fattest nation on the planet, recent U.S. studies show around 34% of Americans are overweight or obese.
In all, there are currently 1.6 billion overweight adults in the world, a number that is expected to grow by 40% over the next decade, according to the World Health Organization.

The report proposed a number of recommendations to curb Australia’s expanding waistlines, including a national weight loss strategy similar to the high-profile smoking and skin cancer campaigns and the subsidizing of gym memberships.

“If we ran a fat Olympics, we’d be gold medal winners as the fattest people on earth at the moment,” Institute preventative cardiology head Professor Simon Stewart told the Age newspaper.

Australia and the United States blame the fast food industry for a lot of the issues. I don’t eat that much fast food. I guess some people do, and I admit I see some folks and just wonder how they can be at that particular restaurant with that food – when they are that unhealthy. But alas we have the opportunity to make healthy choices or live unhealthy lives in most cases. Mine is a choice when it gets down to it.

I am one who struggles with an occasional cigar, bacon, cookie dough ice cream and pie of all flavors. The Thanksgiving holidays will take me to mom’s house. Mom is the best cook ever. She makes fresh breads of all flavors, fresh bread pudding, cookies, cakes and that is just a sample of the sweets. I love it all and I will eat some of everything this week.

God’s gave us free will. The ability to make choices and that is what separates us from Him. We chose to sin or skip church or reading the bible or what ever it is that is inconvenient and doesn’t fit our schedule for that moment or that day.

I don’t mean for this piece to be a condemning comment on others – I choose poorly everyday. I think the way we live today makes it hard for us to make healthy food choices every meal. But this week – I have a little poem:

I will eat pie I will eat cake
I will see my belly bloat and ache

I love to eat I love to sleep
I will lay on the couch in a heap

I will try a diet I will try a fast
But if it is like always it won’t really last

Thank you Lord for my family and all the blessings
This holiday of Thanksgiving, stuffing and dressings

Take time to savor the moments of family. The go by way too fast.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Emailing Emotions

I get a hundred or more e-mails a day. Most of them are impersonal advertisements or solicitations from who knows what – if you have e-mail you know what I am talking about. For me, for the most part, if I did not ask for the e-mail or am not expecting it – I delete it before I even open it. I don’t look at funny pictures or videos or stories. I don’t pass on your prayer e-mails or touching stories to nine of my friends, I just don’t.

A former business partner told me once that the reason he sends e-mails is because they are emotion free exchanges of information or directives. That people do not have to argue or misunderstand what is expected of them or what you are saying to them. I think he was wrong; many e-mails are often taken emotionally.

I have sent e-mails that were totally misunderstood, or it was what I meant at the time but almost immediately wished I had not sent it. Most people have done that. Recently I wrote an e-mail just ripping apart a guy I was upset with, however, I sent it to a friend instead of the victim. We got a laugh out of it, I got it off my chest and out of my head and the victim was none the wiser. I got to think about things a little more and decided a bit of grace was in order before the chopping block.

I have several e-mails from friends who have passed away over the last two years as well as my father. I feel strange when I see them and wonder what would happen if I e-mailed them. I read the e-mails and remember the things that were going on when I sent them. What do you do with those? They are huge emotional e-mails for me now.

I have a few handwritten letters from my dad before he died. I cherish those. I look at his penmanship and his choice of paper. It is all classic dad. You don’t get handwritten letters too often anymore. I would guess if we all sent our moms or a friend a handwritten letter today, they would be thrilled and the letter would be a cherished momentum.

I never really liked getting cards, either. The ones that have the words inside partially underlined by the sender and then an “I Love You” at the end. I have always thought that was cheesy. At least write a paragraph and say something personal in regards to us. E-mail cards are even worse.

So I guess the point I am trying to make is that e-mails are best used to transfer benign information to another. When you really need to get something done, use the telephone. Don’t cop out and expect huge results from an e-mail – if you sent it to me, chances are I deleted it before I even read it. Try calling, writing a letter or write inside that card next time.

I think it shows that you care for some one more when you show them that you gave them some of your time. That you had to think about them only for just a period of time. God gifts us when we give of ourselves.

God Bless and share His love.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Backyard Camping a Possum and Time Well Spent

Those who know me know I spend a lot of time outdoors and teaching kids about hunting and fishing. I don’t always take them far and away to exotic lands and lakes, a lot of times I teach them urban outdoor skills. Al it really takes is a backyard, a creek, a ditch, a tree or just a patch of grass if that is all there is. But outdoors is the key word.

We ended up with three boys last night. Darius, Kyle and Jon-Michael. Two of the boys are boys I have been mentoring for a while, JM is mine, he has been part of the TJ way since his birth. The plan was to let them hangout after church and with no school on Monday we could go late. The plan morphed into a sleep over then a camp out in the backyard. This gave me another chance to kick in the TJ urban outdoor living program.

After a grilled cheese lunch the plan was put into place. BB guns were handed out and loaded to capacity. If we were to ever cash in on the copper content of the BB’s we keep at our house we would be rich. First the mandatory safety lesson and then they were off down the deer trail. The deer trail is a well worn path along the electric substation heavily wooded on both sides. No animals but cans and leaves and stuff to shoot at.

Hours were spent exploring and plinking. They ended up at what they call the sewers. This is an intersection of large concrete drainage ditches. They came back and swapped the guns for bikes and skateboards and were off again until sundown.

Just as it was getting dark we cleared a spot under the outdoor kitchen area, a tin shed where I use my grill, and put up cots. Then we put some wood in the burn pit and sparked up a campfire. They grilled deer sausage from sticks and heated a can of beans for dinner. The rest of the timeline goes something like this.

At 10 p.m. - I told them time to go to bed. The fire had burned down and I was beat, so they needed to be in bed.

11: 40 p.m. – Checked on them through the back door window, they were sitting by the all but gone fire again, throwing small sticks in for short bursts of flames. “Go to bed," was the cry from the kitchen door.

12:30 a.m. – “Get him” was the warrior’s cry. Bang, clank, bang again….."here he comes run".. they had seen a possum and were chasing it around the yard and throwing rocks and sticks and laughing hysterically. My wife awoke to hear me laughing out loud. She told me in no uncertain terms to go and quiet them down. I let them have fun. She rolled over and went back to sleep knowing it was a lost cause.

1:15 a.m. – “Bang, get him, pop, over there, run - there he goes.” Rocks were flying and hitting everything including the house and wood fence. OK now I was going to have to tell them to go to bed. “Dad, there he is get him,” my son yelled as I walked around the corner of the house. The possum was hanging on the fence. I tailed him and took him out across the street and released him to the woods. “Go to bed or else,” was my hollow charge.

2 a.m. Checking out the back door again I saw Darius up on a chair with a big stick in one hand and the flashlight in the other. JM and Kyle were asleep. He was scared of another possum attack. I had him to lay down and it was only minutes before he fell asleep.

3:40 a.m. – Checking again through the back door they were up again sitting by the fire. Small flames flickering on their faces, I walked out to check on them. They asked what time it was. I told them a quarter to four and to get back into bed. “We thought it was almost time to get up.” They had no watch or TV or radio to check the time. “Go to bed, I will get you up early.”

6:15 a.m. - Sunrise, I drag myself in to the kitchen and pour a cup of coffee, ours begins brewing automatically at 5:30 a.m. I look out back and two of the three were up. I wander out and help them set up the Coleman stove. The one sleeping camper had makeup on his face, that is what happens at camp if you sleep in I guess.

They cooked a big breakfast outside, cleaned up and resumed the BB gun and skateboard outing all day. At about 4 p.m. the two visiting campers went home, school tomorrow. Mine showered and crashed out. When I checked on him he woke for a moment and said, “man dad that was awesome,” then fell back asleep.

I may not always do it right but this time, score. I built a memory for the boys, one that includes me. We learned stuff, played, chased a possum and ate food cooked over the open fire. Man what a deal.

I am absolutely beat, I had meetings till late tonight, thus the late posting of this blog. God was good this weekend, and I loved it. Don’t pass up a chance to live your life and thank Him for each and every day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Season of Learning

Recently I spent time in a corporate setting and time after time I met unhappy people who felt stuck. Many expressed feeling they came to the job creative and energized only to be squashed and stuffed into a box.

I also met some great people, upper level executives, who were looking at the corporate ladder and the wonderful opportunities that were ahead of them. They liked their jobs. For them I was happy.

I remember once driving down the interstate one morning and looking over at a guy in a nice pressed shirt who was driving a clean car on his way to work. I thought that would be nice, a job where when you leave for the day you leave it there. For most I met recently, that was not true. Blackberry’s and email keep it going till all hours of the night, seven days a week.

I talked with one guy who was so proud of a camping trip he took his son on, the whole time monitoring his Blackberry for emails and messages. I told him I thought his son probably knew he wasn’t really there, not completely.

You know who I liked the most there though, the kitchen help in the corporate cafeteria. The little Hispanic ladies who worked so hard every day to feed the white-collar employees that worked from their cubicles.

I found out early on that one of the ladies made a fantastic picodigio. I also found out that the kitchen staff ate lunch at about 10. If I happened into the cafeteria for some coffee about then I was likely going to get offered something really traditional and tasty they had prepared for themselves.

I started bringing in smoked meats and fresh fish from hunting trips and gave it to the kitchen staff. They would prepare it and at 10 we ate. It was always wonderful. I learned a little spanish as well. I loved it.

I remember one day at lunch there was a guy who was just angry and frustrated with one of the ladies because she could not figure out he wanted his meat on top of his rice or something stupid like that. He was a rude and obnoxious crap-head. I don’t know if he was generally a creep or if his hemorrhoids were just flaring up that day. I was close to punching him for picking on my little ladies.

I believe life is a series of seasons. We have harsh and hard ones, easy smooth ones. But I have also found that some of the harshest times provide the most fertile time for learning and growing. We are given the opportunity to come closer to God or push him away. We are given the one thing He always allows us, free will. The opportunity to choose.

I am grateful to have found out I am not who I thought I might be. I was given the chance to explore the world from a different angle, a differnet perspective. I am blessed with the relationships that came from the experiences in the last year and I will be praying for those I met.

I do have a few regreats though. I wish I had been more open with my faith and asked more folks if they were believers or if they needed prayer. I also wish I had gotten that recipie for the picodigio and those spicy steamed vegatables.

God is good. Look for Him today.

Mercyme Bring The Rain
I can count a million times People asking me how I Can praise You with all that I've gone through

The question just amazes me Can circumstances possibly Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed Long before these rainy days It's never really ever crossed my mind

To turn my back on you, oh Lord My only shelter from the storm But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace Bring the chance to be free Bring me anything that brings You glory

And I know there'll be days When this life brings me pain But if that's what it takes to praise You Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of The dark clouds that may loom above Because You are much greater than my pain

You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty